It’s been hard for me to get interested in Ando Lloyd (安堂ロイド〜A.I. knows LOVE?〜) so far. First of all, while the science fiction plot in intriguing and different, it also somewhat parallels the much more famous robot assassin from the future storyline of the Terminator movies, and it hasn’t done enough to distinguish itself. Also a bit of a stumbling block is the fact that Kimura Takuya-san is playing an unlikeable android – completely against type – while his co-star Shibasaki Kou-san is playing a character so inconsistent that it’s impossible to care about what happens to her.

The positives in this drama are three characters – detective Isaku (Endo Kenichi), Suppli (Honda Tsubasa), and the Mysterious Beauty (Kiritani Mirei) – so I’m sort of hoping we see more of them in this episode. Those three characters are ones with the best chance to make this story distinctive.

At the beginning, we see Matsushima Nanase (Oshima Yuko) telling Ando Asahi (Shibasaki Kou) that Nanase’s dead brother (and Asahi’s fiancee) had been receiving e-mails from 100 years in the future. But that’s not the most interesting thing about this scene.

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No – what grabbed my interest was that the Mysterious Beauty decided to show up to speak with Nanase. In doing so, I think she did more explanation and exposition than we’ve gotten in the first three episodes of this series.

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For instance, she tells Nanase that Reiji had opened ‘pandora’s box’ (presumably that of time travel) but then quickly closed the box, realizing the danger. Because he had opened that link, though, eleven police androids were sent back – printed out – to kill anyone related to the research and prevent any time paradoxes. Five of those elevens have been killed. The Mysterious Beauty also calls the android who looks like Reiji an ‘old man’ – perhaps, like Arnold’s character in Terminator 2, it’s an older model while the police androids are newer.

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The Mysterious Beauty also explains what she’s up to – she wants to open the box again and to change history. She tries to tempt Nanase with the idea. So . . . why aren’t the police androids after her?

Anyway, that was the first good scene in this drama in a while. We got a lot of answers very quickly and a character we had barely met before got some development.

Next, we turned to decent character number two – Isaku.

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He decides to take a walk with a convict just recently released from prison. He apparently visited the convict during the incarceration in order to reform him, and they had established a rapport.

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Unfortunately, the convict was actually an android and in one of the most pathetic scenes so far, Isaku fell for the oldest trick in the book (Person A – Look over there! Do you see that?; Person B – See What?; Person A – Look Closer!; Person B moves closer to the railing; Person A pushes him over said railing). I lack words to express how disappointed I was, because it seemed like such a callous way to treat a character. Isaku had been portrayed as the cleverest person in the series, yet he fell for something so dumb.

Back with Asahi and the android, one of Reiji’s friends – Kiryu – was reported missing, but shows up at Asahi’s doorstep. He says he just wanted to pay Reiji a visit, but that’s one heck of a detour.

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Are people who know Reiji just going to show up one by one? I don’t know, but this guy is really annoying for too many reasons to name.

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Best thing about him? He brings some of Reiji’s students over. Good – that saves us some time they would spend meeting the professor again.

Worst thing about him? His over-the-top obsession with beef and steak.

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As far as I can tell, the whole purpose of that was to tell us the android had installed taste recognition software. When Asahi asks him why he did so, he says for no reason. Either he’s lying (which he says he cannot do) or he’s not completely an android. Could Kiryu be right that the android still has Reiji’s heart even though he doesn’t have Reiji’s memory?

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The android decides to bring Kiryu to the university, possibly in the hope that Kiryu would tell him things that would help him pretend to be Reiji.

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After Kiryu leaves, Asahi notes that the android is getting better at lying, but he still insists that he doesn’t lie. Well, there’s an inconsistency somewhere in there.

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Out of all people, it’s Hoshi Shinzo (Kiritani Kenta) at Asahi’s workplace who’s the next person to doubt that the real Reiji is back – has he even spent much time with the android? How is it that everyone who meets the android seems to believe the story, but Shinzo doesn’t?

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Their co-worker Sakiko (Yamaguchi Sayaka) is, of course, busy refusing to visit her father Isaku in the hospital. He’s down and out for now, but it looks like he’ll survive.

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The android seems to dream, and this time we see him remembering the time when he installed the ability to recognize taste. It was in his early warrior days, and his team decided to become more like humans by installing the software. So, there’s some drive in these androids to become more human – that’s probably a major point that we should have found out earlier.

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Asahi wants to talk to him about the people he’s killed – whether it’s tens or hundreds. He responds that she needs to add a few zeroes.

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She says that she’s afraid of living with someone who has killed so many people, especially since she doesn’t know what he’ll do next. So . . . so she wants to know more about him. Once again, she seems completely nonsensical to me. Why does she think that knowing more about the horrors he perpetrated would make her feel better about living with him? Considering other robots are out to kill her, can’t she just be satisfied with the fact that at least he’s here to keep her alive? Why isn’t she more worried and paranoid about those assassin androids trying to kill her? If I was being pursued by almost a dozen robots from the future, I’d stick around the robot protecting me at all times!

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And it’s not like she couldn’t take time off work while her android his dealing with their mutual enemy. After all, she could use the excuse that she needs time off to plan her wedding to Reiji, or to take care of him because he’s lost his memory and she wants to help him regain it.

Then she starts psychoanalyzing him – to the point where she asks whether he ever wanted to delete his memories! Where did that come from? Who asks a computer whether it ever wanted to delete its memories? Okay, maybe she’s still thinking of him as somewhat human (and who can blame her?) but to ask that question, she has to assume that the android is capable of a sense of guilt – one of the most complicated human feeling and one that is on-par with love.

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And, as far as we can tell, he does seem to feel guilt. He even says that some of the others he worked with deleted their memory, but he considers that irresponsible. So apparently they had a sense of guilt, too? But why would anyone create an killer android with that?

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Asahi works in technology, but at no point does she seem surprised by the way the android has been programmed, even though it defies all programming logic. Instead, she just muses that she wouldn’t suffer so much if she could delete her memories of Reiji. The problem is, the suffering really hasn’t come through at all, and part of that is Shibasaki-san’s acting. But consider the fact that she tried to take a chainsaw to the android in the previous episode. If she was really paining from the loss of Reiji, could she so easily contemplate killing an entity that looks so much like him? None of her interactions with the android have made sense.

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There’s a salvation, though – Suppli shows up!

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She says that he’s feeling unpleasant in his heart, but he claims he has no such function. She again offers to install the emotion program . . . but if he can feel unpleasant, doesn’t he already have it?

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Ah, don’t worry – Suppli is one of the characters who actually tries to make sense (even though she doesn’t need to). She explains that his AI can develop emotion spontaneously even without the special program – his Asura OS led to androids prone to getting too emotional and carried away.

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She even says that there’s an android with a soul – the ARX II-13.

It’s a bit hard to read the next scene between the evil android of this episode and the Mysterious Beauty.

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Suppli is also more active than usual this time, paying Isaku a visit in the hospital. Once again, she breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly.

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As Sakiko dashes out of the office, getting a call that her father’s health was failing (did Suppli do that!?), Shinzo pursues the issue about Reiji.

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As for the rest of the episode, I’ll leave that out as spoilers for your enjoyment. As you’d suspect, it’s mostly the action scene.

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Summing up the episode, there were plenty of surprises, including Isaku ending up in the hospital like that. I’ve carefully left most of them out, but they were essential to making this episode worthwhile.

Except for those surprises, the scenes with Suppli and the Mysterious Beauty were on a different level than the rest, and much more fun to watch.

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I’ve already mentioned plenty of issues throughout this episode and I won’t repeat them here. The pacing was painful – not only are there a lot of slow parts, but the parts where things are actually explained go by too fast. Suppli and the Mysterious Beauty always speak very fast – it’s almost as if the writers are embarrassed by the story and want to focus instead on the incomprehensible feelings of the android and Asahi.

Speaking of Asahi, the character is all over the place. Comparing her attitude in the previous episode to this one, it’s almost surreal. Even adjusting for that, Shibasaki-san’s acting is weak. Granted, she’s in a tough situation because she’s acting opposite Kimura-san playing a brick wall, but I’m not sure that’s enough of an excuse.

For now, I’m still watching because of Honda-san, Kiritani-san, and Endo-san. While it looks like Asahi’s android is going to become progressively more human, that story  – the main plot – really doesn’t interest me. I’m far more intrigued by the backstory told by Honda-san and Kiritani-san that the writers try so hard to rush past us. I also want to see what Endo-san’s character eventually ends up doing once he wakes up.